WorkSafeBC 2019 Initiatives for Oil and Gas

December 19, 2018

Shale Gas Drilling Rig

On November 20, 2018, Chemscape travelled to Ft St John to hear the annual review for the Oil and Gas sector from WorkSafeBC and learn what their initiatives are in 2019. In 2018, the focus for enforcement was primarily fracking and drilling. In 2019, WorkSafeBC plans to expand this initiative to all areas of Oil and Gas including Pipeline Construction. WorkSafeBC presented statistics on how Oil and Gas is doing in NC and as a whole with their recordable incident rate significantly lower than other industries. However, the incidents in Oil and Gas that do occur are severe and significant. Occupational disease continues to be a growing concern. Prevention activity has been growing year-over-year in BC with 488 Inspections in 2017. 378 Prevention Orders were written in 2017. A list of the most common orders can be found in the presentation. Contact if you would like a copy. 

Field Issues of Concern for WorkSafeBC include:

  1. Flow Piping concerns: new regulations were passed in 2018 and WorkSafeBC is concerned with compliance on this issue.  
  2. Tank cleaning: Exposure Control Plans will be required for this task as well as a Hazard Assessment. Concerns with grounding and bonding. Inadequate training. Lack of PPE. Vac trucks not equipped with rated hoses, valves and fittings.
  3. Well Cleanup and Vapour Recovery: WorkSafeBC has exposure concerns for these activities. Recent explosion and fire incidents at well sites have raised concerns.
  4. Confined Space: a qualified individual needs to develop a hazard assessments and procedures for confined space entry.  Proper testing and monitoring. An Exposure Control Plan should be developed.
  5. Immediate reporting of incidents.
  6. Respiratory use with respirators that meet CSA standards and fit testing.
  7. Annual hearing testing of workers being done.
  8. Lockout procedures too general and not specific enough.
  9. Properly certified and maintained equipment for Emergency egress.

Emerging Issues of Concern for WorkSafeBC in Oil and Gas include:

  1. Exposure Control Plans and a risk assessment of potential hazardous exposures for hydrocarbon-based drilling fluids, aromatic hydrocarbons (benzene, toluene etc.), NORMS, Silica (the new asbestos), Diesel exhaust, and NEW concerns of Welding fumes and Ultra Violet Rays from the Sun.  
  2. Welding fumes: particulate size is so small; fumes found to migrate through respiratory system/circulatory system and lodging in major organs.
  3. Sun exposure: 1 in 3 new cancer diagnoses in Canada is now a skin cancer.
  4. In 2019, Occupational Health Officers will be returning to review Silica Exposures and what is being done for Diesel exhaust.

New initiatives from WorkSafeBC targeting Oil and Gas in 2019:

  1. New Process Safety Team that will focus on Industries with HIGH Consequence/Catastrophic outcomes including Oil and Gas.
  2. Recent double well blowout-HazOP on multi well pads-implications of well bore migration, well pad design-what can happen if things go wrong?
  3. Confined Space Safety team: a dedicated team that have been assessing Confined Space Entry Programs of Employers in various High-Risk sectors and emerging Industries -Oil and Gas sites initially those manufacturing vessels for Oil and Gas.
  4. Future Oil and Gas Facilities and Upstream Operations including Drilling Operations.
  5. New Advanced training program for Officers Inspecting Pipeline Construction across BC.
  6. Tank Cleaning-both portable 400 barrel and fixed storage tanks.
  7. Risk assessment in 2 key areas: The threat from fire and explosions and Occupational Exposures (aromatic hydro carbons, silica, mercury and noise).
  8. Risks identified, Critical risks outlined, Controls identified, and Critical Controls identified and implemented and responsibilities for the Critical controls have been assigned and are being monitored for effectiveness.
  9. New Survey tool being developed and will assist in this assessment by Officers (employers will be able to access the tool and self assess as well.)
  10. Mitigation measures are in place in the event of a Critical control failure.